Solar energy is most broadly utilized for the drying of agricultural products. Solar dryers use this solar energy and create sweltering air used for drying in a considerably more efficient way.
Food products like chilies, pickles, amlas, fish, fruits, and spices will have a longer life once they are dried. Drying removes the moisture present in these edible items and also forestalls microorganisms like bacteria and fungi. Drying will also reduce the weight and volume of the product making it easy to store and use. This will eventually decrease the expense of storing, packaging and Transportation.
Naturally, Sunlight is most broadly utilized for drying agricultural products. Yet, Solar dryers utilize sunlight-based energy and make sweltering air used for drying in a considerably more efficient way.
It is of two types Direct and Indirect. Direct Solar dryers expose the product to direct sunlight and dry up whereas in Indirect dryer’s air is heated and this hot air is passed over the substance to dry the products.
Reasons why Solar Dryers are better than Open Sun Drying
- Heat intensity is double than open sun’s heat – A solar dryer can get inside temperature like 72°C while the outdoor temperature is still 32°C. This makes the dryers take away moisture from food products and dry it rapidly which is 5 times faster than sunlight heating. This will increase operational productivity with a reduced drying period.
- Can be used even on rainy days – A Rainy climate is not suitable for the drying process. But using solar dryers can retain heat up to a maximum of 46°C compared to a mere outside temperature of 26°C. Reducing the reliance on labor to keep and store products in case of rain and strong winds can be avoided.
- Normal drying methods not only attract flies, dust, and other microbes, it also hassles during the rainy season. As Solar dryers have enclosed space this is no longer a problem. Farmers will get a higher and better-quality yield. This will ultimately increase farmer’s income.
- Reducing the operational cost. As Solar dryers are a one-time investment you won’t get any other operational cost unlike other dryers using electrical energy. Maintenance costs also very much negligible.
- It occupies less area. Unlike conventional solar heating where you need a lot of space to spread the food products for drying, in solar dryers, you can stack products in trays and place one above another occupying very little space. You can stack how much you need and it is easily movable.
- Solar dryers last longer and it is estimated that the average like is around 15-20 years. ROI is very much quicker than conventional heating systems.
- No Color degradation due to UV rays. Since a layer is present between the food product and the sunlight source, the color and value of the food products are preserved.
Aspiration Cleantech Ventures is Designing more effective solar dryers which offer a way to more efficiently preserve your fresh products and better address the global issue of food waste.
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